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Sen. Manchin casts doubt on reconciliation deal by Pelosi's Sept. 27 deadline

Progressive lawmakers say they will support the Senate-passed infrastructure bill only if it is considered with the reconciliation package.

WASHINGTON — A budget reconciliation package isn't likely to pass Congress by Sept. 27, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said Sunday.

"There's no way we can get this done by the 27th if we do our jobs," Manchin said on CNN's "State of the Union," because the differences are too big.

"It makes no sense at all," he said.

Manchin came out against a $3.5 trillion budget bill this month, throwing cold water on one of President Joe Biden's top legislative ambitions. It was a warning to Democrats, who have no path to pass a multitrillion-dollar budget bill without his vote in a Senate that is split 50-50 between Republicans and Democratic-voting members.

Writing in The Wall Street Journal opinion section, Manchin called on his party to hit "a strategic pause" on the legislation, rejecting the idea of "artificial political deadlines" to advance it.

Manchin said in an interview Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press" that there's no reason to rush to meet the deadline.

"I'm just saying that we should be looking at everything, and we're not. And that we don't have the need to rush into this and get it done within one week because there's some deadline we're meeting or someone's going to fall through the cracks," he said.

His reasoning for a pause, he said, is that, because of the unknowns with the Covid pandemic, "inflation is still very high and rampant, and then on top of that, the geopolitical unrest that we have going on, we might be challenged there."

Asked whether he would be OK with being the lone "no" vote on Biden's economic agenda, Manchin said he doesn't think he is the only senator against it. He didn't go into further details.

"I've said this: If I can't go home and explain it, I can't vote for it," Manchin said. "I can't explain what we're doing now."